If you are looking for a cheap telephone calling plan, VoIP services are a good alternative to a standard phone. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, sends voice signals over the internet. Thus, you should have high-speed internet. If you do, then most VoIP services provide quality internet phone calling, sometimes with better features than you get from the standard phone company. In addition, many offer a mobile app so that you can save money on your mobile phone bill, too.
We evaluated several internet telephone services, and while only 10 providers can make the list, there were two companies worthy of mention.
NetTALK provides inexpensive local and long-distance calling using VoIP technology. It uses a device you can plug into your router or that you connect to your Wi-Fi and then plug into your phone. In addition, you can download the NetTALK app to your mobile phone to take advantage of free long distance. It offers annual plans based on where you want to call: the U.S. and Canada plan is cheapest, and it gets more expensive as you add Puerto Rico and Mexico, or branch out to the rest of the world. You can also pick a plan where you pay for international calls by the minute.
The service comes with the usual convenience features you'd want on a telephone, including voicemail, directory assistance, emergency services, and caller ID. You can also set the phone to not ring at certain times and block individual numbers.
You can find a FAQs page, troubleshooting help and video tutorials. If you need further assistance, you can contact the company via live chat 24/7. Overall, NetTALK is a solid VoIP service, and the price makes it worth considering, especially if you only call in the U.S. or Canada.
Ooma's home service is called Telo, and its plan works differently from most VoIP services. Rather than paying a monthly or annual subscription, you purchase the Telo device for $129, and afterwards, you only pay the FCC regulatory fees and appropriate taxes. Fees vary by state. In Utah, they come out to about $4 per month. This gives you free domestic calls in the U.S. There's also a mobile app for your smartphone.
In addition, it offers international calls at cheap rates. You can find the rates for each country on its website. We called several countries during a high-volume season to see how well the service worked. Overall, connections went well and calls were clear, but connecting to Vietnam gave us some issues. Tech support was friendly and helpful, but not fully effective. The connection problem was fixed, only to resurface again later.
This VoIP service comes with 411 calling and E911 service. You can hear messages, check calls logs and see your calling history online or from a mobile device. Ooma also offers a premier service for a subscription fee and business services if you need cheap telephone calling for your office. Ooma's business VoIP has additional features specific to running an office and handling customers, including a virtual receptionist you can program.
Ooma uses voice compression and voice packet prioritization to give you a clear signal while using as little bandwidth as possible. With the exception of the issues with Vietnam, Ooma provided cheap but high-quality telephone service.